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Practical, assistant nurses demand cure for ‘terrible working conditions’

By Rayya Al Muheisen - Aug 04,2022 - Last updated at Aug 04,2022

Representative image (Photo courtesy of unsplash.com/Chang Duong)

AMMAN — Unlike registered nurses, who hold bachelor’s degrees and are legally protected, practical and assistant nurses, who hold diplomas, are stuck in limbo as they are bound to follow doctor’s orders that are outside of their job descriptions, according to a sector representative.

Eyad Abu Judeh, representative of the National Committee for Assistant, Practical and Worker Nurses said that practical and assistant nurses “suffer terrible working conditions and are not compensated for their efforts”.

“Practical and assistant nurses have to choose whether they follow doctor’s orders and do what they’re asked to do and risked being sued by a patient for not being competent to do a medical procedure in the event of a medical error,” Abu Judeh told The Jordan Times.

“Practical and Assistant nurses have to do what they’re asked to do, regardless if it is listed on their work description or not,” Abu Judeh added, noting that a refusal to do anything that is not included in their job description is considered a violation of the Jordanian Penal Code.

Judeh stated that a strike planned by nurses was suspended after “promises” from the secretary general of the Health Ministry to consider their long-held demands.

According to a statement by the committee, practical, assistant and worker nurses demand 135 per cent pay raise, the exact increase nurses and midwives received. 

The second demand is unifying their incentive scale with nurses and midwives’ scale. 

They also demand transport allowance as well as overtime and risk incentive to be added to their monthly payments. 

Academic support in the form of scholarships for bachelor’s degrees, as well as an end of service gratuity, are among the many other demands. 

A practical nurse who preferred to remain anonymous told The Jordan Times that he “is frightened for his life” during his service hours.

He recalled an incident in which a relative of a deceased patient grabbed a pair of scissors and tried to stab him. “After over 13 hours of CPR, the assaulter’s mother passed away,” he added.

He stated that the assaulter “didn’t know how to vent his anger”.

Practical and assistance nurses also lament their low salaries. “The basic salary of an assistant or practical nurse is JD310, after so many years of service the first promotion they get is worth JD2, the second one is JD3,” Abu Judeh added.

Sawsan, an assistant nurse who has been working in a public hospital for over five years, said she receives a monthly salary of JD310, with no benefits.

According to Sawsan, the work load of assistant nurses is “immense”. As they graduated from a college and not a university, they are not entitled to get the official post of a nurse. “We will always remain less according to their standards,” said Sawsan.

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